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Global partnership launched to enable personalised therapies in multiple sclerosis

In this project, universities and companies across 11 European countries and the US will unite efforts to tailor the development and application of therapies to the individual MS patient.

A large global new partnership called MultipleMS, coordinated by Karolinska Institute in Sweden, has been awarded €15 million from the European Commission in the Horizon2020 program to find novel and better treatments for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

MS is an immune-mediated disease and a leading cause of non-traumatic disability in young adults in Europe, affecting over 2 million persons worldwide. MS is a highly heterogeneous disease and a cure for MS is not yet available. As the result of current treatments varies strongly from patient to patient, predicting the specific beneficial treatment for each patient would improve disease management.

“What is truly unique about this project is the scale of the partnership and the huge amount and different kinds of patient data that will be combined. Our novel approach is to take the multifaceted nature of MS as the starting point for identifying personalised treatment opportunities in MS”, Professor Ingrid Kockum of KI, coordinator of the project, stated.

The project builds on the foundations and research networks laid out by earlier consortia such as the Nordic MS genetics network, the International MS Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) and International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC).

“The project will combine a variety of data, such as, clinical, genetic, epigenetic, molecular, MRI and lifestyle data from more than 50,000 MS patients and 30,000 healthy individuals to elucidate differential disease characteristics in patients”, Professor Kockum says.

In parallel with the integration of the collectively available data, a sample of newly diagnosed patients will be followed longitudinally, resulting in a harmonised cohort to verify the lead findings. Based on this integrated information, the aim is that both existing and new treatments can be personalised based on characteristics and biomarkers in individual patients.

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